With most of the press stuck outside until just before Sonne Adam came on stage, one assumes that the two previous bands were suitably supported, but in any case, I was only really interested in a couple of the bands on the bill tonight, simply down to personal musical preference.

Sonne Adam were really surprising, after hearing much praise for this band and comparisons made to Morbid Angel, I was very intrigued. You did get Morbid Angel riffs, but and a very much slower pace, often doom death in places, this Israeli band were truly remarkable. Coupled with a near perfect sound from where I was standing in the audience, Sonne Adam won more than a few new fans this evening and their redeeming facet was that they made it look effortless, but boy was it good.

Vile came on stage and I have to admit I had a pre-conception that I wasn’t going to be that impressed. However, after this battering live show, I really cannot back up those pre-conceptions (now misconceptions!). They pound the audience some with hefty fast brutal death and vocalist Mike Hrubovcak is really on top form giving a heartfelt performance. The thick chunky speed ridden guitar riffs pinch harmonise and pummel the audience into submission, but quite unusually I noticed, there was very little crowd movement, most people were simply watching from afar with a few revellers at the front doing their best to prevent their feet from setting in wet concrete! For a band that appeared to be utilising touring musicians, this was a unit well versed and firing on all cylinders. Most people wanted to hear the early material, but then again the tracks aired from their latest album did rather nicely.

Grave are essentially the forefathers of the Swedish death metal scene, I have seen this band countless times before and normally as a support act they are faultless, unlike some previous headlining slots as a peer mentioned to me on the night. However, ‘Turning Black’ from the ‘Soulless’ album made its mark in one massive swoop of dirty death metal. There was a little bit too much busyness in the live sound that meant the crunchy low end grunt of the typical Swedish tone was a little flawed with both guitars at one and with solos being less audible, but I guess those at stage front did not really care, and it wasn’t a major factor of discontent for me really, just an observation. It took until ‘You’ll Never See’ is played, from the 1992 classic album of the same name, to get the crowd moving and making a “pit” circulate. Whilst it was enjoyable to see I was pissed off when most of the next chap to me’s pint soaked itself over my head and t shirt, hence my journey home was reminiscence of stale piss and beer smells, wonderful, but nothing new I guess for those that know me! [I was more pissed off it was my beer Pete ed]

I hung on as long as I could but as Grave did not start till 22.30, it was too much for me to wait and risk missing my train home and some of us have work in the morning. I do hope that this is a one off in regards the late stage times, outside of London this pisses me off bands starting really late, I hope this is not going to be the sign of things to come.

Overall, the evening was pretty cool, all three bands were very good at what they do, with Sonne Adam finding a new fan in me, and Vile relinquishing all previous thoughts of shitiness from my mind whilst Grave gave a show I was expecting, the passion in Ola’s face when he was attacking his vocal lines was clear for all to see. Death metal for once was not all cookie monster beeps, squeaks and random guitar twiddle nonsense, even for Vile who I actually thought were better than a recent Cannibal Corpse gig I attended inManchesterearlier this year. The three bands that I saw exhibited soul and provided a show that battered you from one ear to the next.

Paul Maddison 

Photos Pete Woods